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Super League XXVIII week eight preview: Rivals to collide this weekend

We are already into week eight of the new Super League season, and this week is known as "Rivals Round", as cities and towns will be divided as teams play their arch-rivals across the Easter Weekend.

There are some mouthwatering ties on the agenda, including St Helens' clash with Wigan, while Wakefield will look for their first win of the campaign in the first match of the weekend against Castleford. 

There's also the small matter of Warrington's trip to Catalans, which sees the top two teams face off against each other.

Tigers to pile on the pressure

WhatCastleford v Wakefield
WhereMend-A-Hose Jungle, Castleford
When20:00, Thursday 6th April 2023
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsCastleford 2/7, Tie 25/1, Wakefield 11/4

Wakefield will hope a game against their biggest rivals will inspire them this Thursday as they prepare to travel to rivals Castleford Tigers. 

Mark Applegarth's side have lost every single one of their seven Super League matches, conceding 218 points in the process. 

Naturally, they will be expected to struggle this week, but Castleford are only two points better off. Thankfully for Applegarth, Renouf Atoni, Kevin Proctor, Jorge Taufua, Sam Hewitt and Liam Hood are all expected to return after missing last week's 38-0 defeat to St Helens. 

Castleford may have lost their last game to Wakefield, but the Tigers have won nine of the previous 10 meetings and should cover the -10.5 handicap at 10/11.

Robins can add to Smith's list of problems

WhatHull FC v Hull KR
WhereMKM Stadium, Hull
When12:30, Friday 7th April 2023
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsHull FC 20/23, Tie 18/1, Hull KR 1/1

Over 20,000 fans are expected to pile into the MKM Stadium on Good Friday for one of the highlights of the Super League campaign. 

Hull FC have a point to prove, with Tony Smith's side 10th in the table after just two wins in seven matches. The Robins have four points more as they prepare to make the trip across the city, and they will be full of confidence. 

Willie Peters' side beat Leeds last week, and they should be able to cover the +1.5 handicap at 4/5, especially with Hull FC losing five in a row. 

Wigan can squeeze past world champions Saints

WhatWigan v St Helens
WhereDW Stadium, Wigan
When15:00, Friday 7th April 2023
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsWigan 20/23, Tie 18/1, St Helens 1/1

Wigan and St Helens are expected to be fighting for a Grand Final place this autumn, but both teams have been guilty of poor performances in the first months of the campaign. 

The two sides occupy third and fourth place in the table, but they have the squads needed to mount a serious title charge. 

In St Helens' defence, they have played one game less than Wigan due to their World Club Challenge exploits, and a win would see them move level with their rivals in the table. 

These games are often closely contested, and injuries will play their part. Jai Field will miss out for Wigan in a huge blow, while Alex Walmsley's absence will be just as damaging for St Helens. 

Wigan look good value to cover the -2 handicap at 1/1, and home advantage could prove decisive. 

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Injuries to play their part in Leigh

WhatLeigh v Salford 
WhereLeigh Sports Village, Leigh
When14:30, Saturday 8th April 2023
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsLeigh 11/10, Tie 18/1, Salford 4/5

These two sides played out a thrilling battle in the first round of the 2023 campaign, a game where Salford prevailed 20-10 away from home. 

The two sides are evenly matched and are both on six points in the table, but this is a game that injuries could decide. 

Paul Rowley's options at Salford are dwindling each week, and Joe Burgess is likely to miss out in what is a huge blow for the Red Devils. 

Leigh will be highly motivated to win on home soil, and Salford's lack of depth may come back to haunt them. 

The Leopards are 1/1 to cover the +1.5 handicap, and that looks the sensible bet this weekend.

All to play for in Perpignan

WhatCatalans Dragons v Warrington
WhereStade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan
When17:00, Saturday 8th April 2023
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsCatalan Dragons 6/5, Tie 20/1, Warrington 8/11

While these two sides are not renowned rivals, they are the best two teams after the first seven games of the new season. 

Warrington have a two-point cushion over the French outfit, and even though they lost 40-8 on their last visit to Perpignan, they are a totally different team this time around under Daryl Powell. 

The Wire have outclassed everyone they have faced so far, and it should not be too much to ask for them to cover the -2 handicap at 5/6.

Leeds can prevail at home

WhatLeeds v Huddersfield
WhereHeadingley Stadium, Leeds
When18:00, Sunday 9th April 2023
How to watchSky Sports Arena
OddsLeeds 8/11, Tie 20/1, Huddersfield 6/5

Leeds can move above Huddersfield in the table with a victory, and their home advantage might be the difference this Sunday. 

Rohan Smith's side produced a magical comeback at home against Catalans to win two weeks ago, but they were brought back down to earth by Hull KR last week. 

The Rhinos can be inconsistent, but their record at home to Huddersfield is anything but. Leeds are unbeaten in four at Headingley against the Giants, and they should secure the two points at 8/11, with Ian Watson's Huddersfield yet to show their true potential this season.

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